On a collision course

Conrad M. Cariño

Conrad M. Cariño

So it’s confirmed that Miguel Cotto and Saul Alvarez will fight on November 21, 2015 in what is seen as a bigger bout than the showdown between Gennady Golovkin and David Lemieux on October 17, 2015.

Cotto (40-4 with 33 knockouts), who will put his World Boxing Council middleweight title on the line, and Alvarez, the former WBC and World Boxing Association (WBA) junior middleweight world champion, have agreed to fight at a catchweight of 155 pounds or five pounds below the 160-pound middleweight limit.

The catchweight of 155 pounds favors both fighters because the 34-year old Cotto is undersized for a middleweight while the 25-year old Alvarez (45-1-1 with 32 KOs) has campaigned mostly at welterweight (147 pounds) and junior middleweight (154 pounds) in the past few years.

The Golovkin-Lemieux fight will have a limit of 160 pounds. Although the 26-year old Lemieux has 31 knockouts from his 34-2 record, Golovkin’s championship experience will be the deciding factor in the fight. Lemieux just won the International Boxing Federation (IBF) world middleweight belt by decisioning Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam over 12 rounds on June 20, 2012. Golovkin, who is 33 years old, has a record of 33-0 with 39 KOs.

As for Cotto-Alvarez, boxing pundits are predicting an Alvarez victory over Cotto because the Mexican is the bigger fighter and hits heavier. Cotto has also been criticized for not facing a full-fledged middleweight and for winning the 160-pound crown over a Sergio Martinez who was no longer in his prime when they fought.

Alvarez also seems invincible at 154 pounds and has faced some of the best in that division like

Erislandy Lara, Austin Trout and James Kirkland.

Alvarez and Cotto have two common opponents in Floyd May-weather Jr. and Trout. Both fighters lost to Mayweather but Cotto put up a more impressive showing against the still undefeated American. Meanwhile, Alvarez beat Trout handily while Cotto was almost overwhelmed by Trout.

Writing off Cotto at this point, however, would be foolish because the Puerto Rican has enjoyed a revival of his nearly sagging career after tapping Manny Pacquiao coach Freddie Roach. And with Pacquiao not fighting much today, Roach can devote much of attention to Cotto.

Cotto also knows a victory over Alvarez will increase his stock and line him up for a big payday against Golovkin.

The Cotto-Golovkin fight would also interest fight fans because that will pit a future member of the sport’s Hall of Fame against a fighter who is still building his legacy.

On the other hand, a showdown between Alvarez and Golovkin will be more like Thomas Hearns vs Marvin Hagler because the Mexican and the Kazakh are in their prime and are the strongest fighters in their divisions.

With Pacquiao and Mayweather’s days in the sport now numbered, there is a need for boxers to fill the void they will leave and it looks like Alvarez and Golovkin fit the bill.

On the other hand, Cotto looks like he still has up to two more good years ahead of him provided he does not suffer a crushing defeat similar to what Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito dealt him.

So after November 21 or after the Cotto-Alvarez fight, the world will know who will square off in the succeeding months and emerge as the sport’s next superstar. Would it be Cotto vs Golovkin or Alvarez vs Golovkin? Who will win—Cotto, Alvarez or Golovkin?

Some things are worth the wait.


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